Could AI become a one-stop-shop tool when you’re in need of legal defence?
That is the feature of today’s post as part of my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! and a recent article in New Scientist magazine (issue 3421, pg.10).
To stress, the scenario featured in this article is about a trial. Of the AI. Obviously there is also a legal trial – this one about a speeding ticket.
New Scientist – AI Will Advise a Defendant in Court
Artificial intelligence is a hot topic lately. You may have had a play with ChatGBT which has become popular recently. Or, you may have seen discussions around the inter-web about digital art, or artificial intelligence being used in ways in which it could replace human creations.
The idea of artificial intelligence being clever enough to do even more than it already does is a little bit frightening. Now, for the first time ever, artificial intelligence is being tested in a brand-new scenario – the courtroom. Normally, such technology is not permitted. You won’t find yourself defended by anyone other than a lawyer anytime soon. However, a company behind artificial intelligence has found somewhere in which a device supporting AI can be used… and is taking the opportunity to do so.
The firm behind the artificial intelligence, DoNotPay, are trialling the use of its technology in defending against a speed ticket. The company has promised to pay any fines in the event that the AI does not succeed in its defence. In order to represent the defendant, a smart phone is being used to listen to proceedings and advise the defendant on how to respond via an ear piece.
As this case is not due to take place until next month, we won’t know how successful AI will be in this scenario. It was originally developed and trained to assist with legal issues by sticking to factual statements. In a courtroom scenario, the best course of action could be different. That is clearly why the company want to expose their artificial intelligence to this situation. It relies on data. Currently, it has no data of how to respond to this scenario. After this case, that will change.
What could it mean?
If we ever see artificial intelligence playing a significant role in legal issues, it is a long way off. In order to get this first trial, the company have had to search long and hard to find somewhere it would be permitted. They are able to implement the technology as a defence tool under a technicality that isn’t really in the spirit of the rules. If AI were to become mainstream, there would have to be significant changes in the law to permit it to be used.
The article in new scientist suggests that AI may instead be used to assist lawyers, rather than replace them. However, at this stage, who can say? Until we get an idea of how well it performs and if the attitude of society changes, we won’t know if it has any permanent role in the courtroom.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of The Warden by Jon Richter, organised by Blackthorn Book Tours. This is the second blog tour post I’ve shared with Blackthorn, and it also happens to be the same author that I’m featuring today!
When I received the invite to read and review The Warden as part of this tour, it was a no-brainer decision! I really enjoyed reading Auxiliary: London 2039, also by Jon Richter, and I loved the sound of The Warden. Whilst it has similar themes to Auxiliary (on the technological side anyway), it’s a completely different narrative and character set. So, I don’t think you don’t have to have read any books by him previously to give this one a go based on my experience.
There are a few topics in the book that some readers may not be comfortable with reading. These are listed below so you can decide whether you’re interested in the book and also on here in my thoughts. I really hope that they don’t put you off however, because it is a fantastic book. I’m not one to shy away and I’m glad that the case, because this book was a pleasure to read!
The Warden – Jon Richter
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Print length: 312
Suitable for young adults? This is an adult book but suitable for mature teenagers 16-18
Trigger warnings: Covid references; homicide with some graphic violence; references to medical experimentation on humans; swearing; brief animal cruelty (goldfish left to die); references to suicide and mental illness
The year is 2024, and the residents of the Tower, a virus-proof apartment building, live in a state of permanent lockdown. The building is controlled by a state-of-the-art AI named James, who keeps the residents safe but incarcerated. Behind bricked-up front doors, their every need is serviced; they are pampered but remain prisoners.
This suits Eugene just fine. Ravaged by the traumas of his past, the agoraphobic ex-detective has no intention of ever setting foot outside again. But when he finds the Tower’s building manager brutally murdered, his investigator’s instincts won’t allow him to ignore the vicious crime.
What Eugene finds beyond the comfort of his apartment’s walls will turn his sheltered existence upside down. To unravel the Tower’s mysteries, he must confront James… and James takes his role as the Warden very, very seriously.
Praise for The Warden
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book set during a pandemic – but I’m so glad I did. One of my top reads of 2021 – it grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go till the fantastic ending. Part psychological thriller, part horror story, part crime novel – and there’s even a touch of romance – all brought together by superb writing. Amazon review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow, I loved this book! Set in the year 2024, with flashbacks to 2020, it shows an alternative reality to the Covid situation we’re currently living through. The virus has become even more virulent, and people are shut inside their homes, terrified to go out. Amazon review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Massive 5 stars. Jon Richter is an author I admire – I loved his Rabbit Hole, and it was my number one book for 2020. This one is definitely in the running for being number one in 2021! It is set in Covid times, with some remarkably likeable characters who prove to be anything but… Amazon Review
I love the spin of the world and our current circumstances featured in the novel. We are all too familiar with the pandemic at this point. A number of us have had to make changes in our lives and embrace new technologies to help us through it. In this futuristic novel, Covid has advanced even further than our current circumstances. It is highly contagious and to prevent spread, people are sealing themselves inside their homes. The residents of The Tower are fortunate in that they are looked after by James, a highly intelligent AI system that delivers their daily needs, provides all the entertainment they can want and more besides. What could go wrong?
Well, there’s a question…
The thing that makes this narrative so chilling is that it has a stark resemblance to our recent circumstances. The fact that this could be our lives in the not too distant future is scary and all-too-real. We don’t need to imagine what it is like to have to isolate or stay at home. We’ve done that; The only difference is that events in the book a far more extreme than we have had to experience (thankfully!)
If you like science-fiction then this book has aspects for you as well! Alongside the current narrative in 2024, there are flashbacks to the creation of the AI, James, stemming from the beginning of the pandemic. I liked these snippets from the past as they build on the current storyline, but also they have interesting aspects in terms of The creation of the technology and how it has evolved in the few years between timelines. As someone who has read a lot more in the way of science fiction of late, this appeals to me as well.
I love books that combine different genres, and The Warden certainly does that! I enjoyed how the psychological thriller and science-fiction elements came together. They are both well-loved genres on my reading list and to find a book that melded the two together almost seamlessly was perfect. There is a good balance of both to appeal to readers of each genre; but, if like me you enjoyed both then you should love this book as much as I did!
The Warden was everything I hoped it would be. The writing style is effortless to read and the story flows nicely. Changing between the two timelines was clear and effortless to read. I also enjoyed how different chapters were written from the perspective of different characters. It adds a new dimension to any narrative and it’s one of my favourite elements of books of this kind. Each narrative voice is distinct and even if each chapter weren’t clearly labelled with whose perspective it was from, you could easily tell from the style.
All in all, The Warden was a really enjoyable read. With short chapters and a page count of just over 300 pages, it’s a novel that is great for a wide audience… especially those who enjoy their novels on the darker side…
About Jon Richter
Jon Richter writes genre-hopping dark fiction, including his three gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial, Never Rest and Rabbit Hole, his cyberpunk noir thriller Auxiliary: London 2039 and his new techno-thriller The Warden, as well as two collections of short horror fiction.
Jon lives in London and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story! He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you many more sinister tales in the future. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the world’s greatest works of dark fiction, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast fix.
If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites. His website haunts the internet at www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.
What book blogger wouldn’t proclaim themselves an avid reader?
If found without a book in hand, send for medical aid!
My name is Rebecca; welcome to my humble little blog.
Subscribe to my Blog!
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: